23 April 1918
Izvestia, 23 April 1918

    The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs on 21 April sent the following wireless-telegram to the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs:

    In reply to the wireless of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs of 19 April [1], the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs considers it advisable to bring to your knowledge the text of the orders issued on 2o April by the People's Commissariats for Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Military Affairs.

    There follow the orders of all three Commissariats giving instructions for dealing with the question of the attitude towards prisoners of war. Trotsky's order has already been published in Izvestia. The text of the wireless-telegram from the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs dispatched on 2o April to all Soviets of Workers' Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies reads as follows:

    The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs draws the attention of all Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', and Peasants' Deputies to the urgent necessity of the complete protection of prisoners of war from any acts of violence, also on the part of their own comrades; it also points out the Russian Government's obligation, on the basis of treaties, to observe all the privileges to which officer-prisoners are entitled in their own country. The People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs reminds you that the official institutions of the Russian Republic must, in virtue of the Brest Treaty, refrain from agitation against the political regime in Germany and its allies.

    The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs has simultaneously sent the following telegram to all Soviets:

    In view of evidence received concerning acts of violence among prisoners of war of different political views, the Commissariat for Internal Affairs instructs all Soviets of Workers', Peasants', and Soldiers' Deputies immediately to take all steps in their power to give protection from such acts of violence and strictly to adhere to the following:

    All foreign citizens who are anxious to enter the Russian Soviet army must in future accept Soviet citizenship. All instructions of the Commissariats for Military and Foreign Affairs, relating to the maintenance of prisoners of war, must, in view of international obligations the violation of which can do us great harm, also be carried out immediately.

    Having repeated the contents of the above-mentioned order in its wireless-telegram to the German Government, the People's Commissanat for Foreign Affairs concludes its reply as follows:

    As to the communication of the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs concerning individual camps, this matter is being investigated and any necessary measures will be taken.

[I] The German telegram is given in Daily Review of the Foreign Press, 24 April 1918, P. 470.

Documents on Soviet Foreign Policy

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